Seeing Green: How to Spend Less on Eyeglasses

Posted on 09/13/2012

Need a new pair of specs? That can be a costly purchase, especially for those who don’t have vision insurance. According to CBS, Americans spend more than $15 billion each year on eyewear. If you want to see more green in your pocket consider these tips for saving money on eyeglasses.

Skip the Designer Name Just like clothing, frames with a designer name attached like Calvin Klein, Vera Wang or even Porsche can cost much more than the no-name brand. The fact is you’re rarely paying for quality when you buy designer. What you’re paying for is a tiny logo that most people probably won’t see anyway.

Shop at Costco
Consumer Reports polled more than 30,000 readers about their most recent eyeglass purchases. And according to bespectacled readers, Costco is the best place to buy new glasses. The median price for a pair of glasses at the discount chain is $157. Independent shops charge an average of $211, while eye doctors’ offices charge about $212.

Recycle Frames
If you still like your old frames, and they’re not too out of date, you can simply have the lenses upgraded to fit your current prescription. You’ll cut the cost down significantly since you won’t be paying for frames.

Shop Online
Check out websites like Zenni Optical that offer more than 5,600 pairs of prescription glasses starting at just $6.95. You can search for frames by price point making it easy to find a style that fits your budget.

Use Your HSA or FSA
Eyeglasses are approved expenses for HSA or FSA accounts. If you’ve got one, contribute enough pre-tax income to your health account to cover a new pair of glasses. That way you’ll save money by reducing income tax which means spending less for your specs.

By Alison Storm

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